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AFF Championship

Chanathip leads Thailand past Vietnam despite missed penalty

16:34 WAT 23/12/2021
Chanathip Songkrasin
The gifted playmaker put in a stellar performance, even if he missed a chance to get his hat-trick

Thailand have one foot in the final of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup after a decisive 2-0 win in the first leg of their semi-final showdown with Vietnam at Singapore’s National Stadium.

A first-half brace from Chanathip Songkrasin put Thailand in a commanding position at the break and things could have been even worse for Vietnam if not for a penalty-save by Tran Nguyen Manh in the 84th minute as he denied the Thai captain his hat-trick.

Coach Alexandre Polking was full of his praise for his side but also cautioned them not to get carried away.

“We have a small advantage with the two goals, it’s an important first step but it’s not done yet," he stated.

“We know that we have to adjust some things and know we can play better than this but we knew it was important to get the result.

“In the second half we changed some things in trying to stay compact but unfortunately we missed the penalty or it could have been a perfect plan but it’s over now and we need to rest and recover.”

Both sides meet again on December 26 for a spot in the final against either Indonesia or Singapore.